I once read that hanging a vanda upside-down can trick a distressed plant into growing roots. I gave this a try and lo and behold, it seemed to have worked!

Here’s my suspended upside-down aeridovanda.

Upside-down vanda

Upside-down vanda

It wasn’t doing too good for a while. Some fungal infection caught it at the roots (fusarium, probably) and was advancing upwards along its stem. The bad roots, and the damaged part of the lower stem had to go.

So I cut it as far up the stem as I could until I see a clean cross-section (no brown or purple at the edges) AND one good root. This is extremely important. In my experience I’ve never had a vanda grow a new root out of a rootless stem. You might have had better luck, but unless it has at least one good root, my vandas do not survive.

Then using tie-wires, I suspended the orchid upside-down at a shady area. You can see the single root growing out from the top (or its base, actually). It was a lot shorter when I first put it on this therapy.


After two months, it was time to repot it upright.

Here’s a step-by-step:

1. Find your pot. Ok – some of you may not agree, but I reuse old pots.

Old clay orchid pot

Old clay orchid pot

2. Remove all the old media and discard it.

removing old media

Remove the old media from the pot

3. Pour about half to one cup of bleach into a small bucket of water.

Bleach to water

Pour half cup of bleach to a small bucket of water

4. Soak the whole pot into the bleach solution for 10 minutes to disinfect. Longer if you can – just watch some TV or go have lunch.

bleach the pot

Soak the pot to disinfect

5. Remove from bleach solution and scrub clean. Rinse.


Scrub the pot clean

6. Secure the vanda into the pot with tie-wires. As you can see, I don’t use any media.

Tie the vanda down to its pot

Tie the vanda down to its pot

Fast forward to a month later, and look, healthy roots! Yes, I placed some sphagnum moss to help it along, but this will be removed in light of the recent downpours.

New roots growing out from my aeridovanda

New roots growing out from my aeridovanda

So there it is, I have saved my Aeridovanda Kinnaree (aerides lawrenciae x vanda denisoniana) by giving it the upside-down treatment.

If you have a vanda that looks like it might head south, give it a good hanging upside-down. You just might save it.